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Are there any credit cards that cover emergency medical bills overseas?

By , CardRatings contributor
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American Express is a CardRatings.com advertiser.

Yes, although your options are better if you're a foreigner traveling to the United States than if you're an American traveling overseas. Travelers from Eastern Europe and the Middle East can qualify for Visa Infinite, a luxury credit card that includes supplemental medical coverage as a perk. Western European MasterCard holders may qualify to add MasterAssist, an insurance rider that helps cover unexpected hospitalizations.

For U.S. citizens, however, the best product we know of that supplements your existing health insurance outside the country is an add-on for American Express cards called American Express Travel Medical Protection. This annual membership plan covers up to $100,000 in unexpected costs when you're sick or injured overseas. The plan also provides a few services that very few health insurance companies can offer when you're away from home:

  • English-speaking, global assistance. Medical concierges and nurses man a dedicated, toll-free number, so you can get advice during a health emergency or support after you've been admitted to a hospital.
  • Medical evacuation. If you can get better treatment for your condition in a larger city or back in the United States, American Express Travel Medical Protection covers the cost of getting you to the right medical facility. The plan even absorbs expenses related to medical helicopters and last-minute flights with medical personnel.
  • Family relocation. When your condition precludes you from returning home, this plan will pay to fly loved ones to your bedside and house them in suitable accommodations. It's a comforting idea that you won't have to be alone if your treatment and recovery force you to extend your stay.

American Express already extends significant benefits to its Cardmembers, so you may already have access to concierge services that can help you find the right doctor or hospital when you're away from home. However, an annual family plan under American Express Travel Medical Protection costs less than a decent hotel room in most major cities, making this an attractive supplement that can offer you extra peace of mind.

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